Zen International Patents and Trademarks

Today’s topic is “Kikunae Ikeda”, one of ten Japanese Great Inventors chosen by the Japan Patent Office.

Kelp stock (Konbu Dashi) has long been used in Japanese cooking.  It was empirically known that ingredients contained in kelp(Konbu) composed a source of taste.

Kikunae Ikeda, a professor of the Tokyo Imperial University, focused on kelp (Konbu) taste and named it as “umami”. He also noticed that “umami” was the fifth taste after sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
He began research to clarify the ingredient which is the source of “umami”.
He discovered the ingredient was sodium glutamate and then obtained the patent rights to the manufacture of sodium glutamate in 1908. (patent number 14805).

Nowadays, “umami” is well known not only in Japan, but also in the world.